Saline Shop Sweetens the Deal on Financial Education


Photo by Karen Tadd

In the heart of downtown Saline, a unique alliance has been formed by Eleanor's Sweets and Sodas with the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan and the Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union (MSGCU). This collaboration is set to foster financial acumen among the youth through hands-on, engaging activities rather than the conventional bank setting.

Owner of Eleanor’s Sweets, Karen Tadd, explains her reason for the event. “As a mother of two young children, I frequently received comments at the checkout counter when I encouraged them to complete their own transactions, as this practice seemed to be increasingly rare. Conversations with fellow parents revealed that many of them were handling all financial transactions on behalf of their kids. Drawing upon my engineering background, I felt compelled to make a positive impact on our community by teaching children essential shopping skills while making math enjoyable.”

Photo by Maxim Dowdy

Tadd achieved this a few years ago by creating a program that harnessed the appeal of candy as a mouth-watering educational tool. Scouts use budget sheets incorporating taxes, product costs, and sale prices using a nickel and dime system. Tadd says, “Our goal is to not only provide children and our employees with a memorable experience but also to equip them with valuable life skills that extend beyond the candy store.”

Math Clipboards and Credit Union pamphlets. Photo by Karen Tadd

The curriculum is designed to immerse children in practical financial scenarios. In "Kids in a Candy Store," youngsters from kindergarten through fifth grade grapple with the concepts of budgeting, discerning wants from needs, and the essentials of operating a cash register. The older participants in "How Sweet is a Small Business" delve into the intricacies of running a business and financial strategy through games and real-world store management simulations.

The collaboration with MSGCU takes a step further in instilling financial responsibility by offering tangible incentives. Margie Baldwin from MSGCU articulates their mission, "With a foundation steeped in education, we strive to imbue financial literacy in our community. Partnering with Eleanor's allows us to catalyze the development of sound financial practices among the youth."

Kids coloring on the floor. Photo by Maggie McGreal. Madeline Cutler and Sienna Trier with animal balloons. Photo by Eli Gray.

Eleanor's Sweets and Sodas is at 108 S. Ann Arbor Street in Saline. Hours: Wed-Sat 10 am to 8 pm. Sun 12-4. Mon-Tue closed.

For more information on their financial education program visit the community section at

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